Thursday, July 11, 2024

Are Police Dispatch Calls Public Record

Don't Miss

Warrant And Capias Information

Aurora police release dispatch audio, 911 calls from mass shooting at Henry Pratt

Q: What is the difference between a warrant and a capias?

A: A warrant is an order which authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest and bring a person before the judge. A warrant may be issued when a person is charged with a crime, convicted of a crime but failed to appear for sentencing, owes a fine or is in contempt of court. A capias is also an order for arrest of a person, typically issued by the judge or magistrate in a case. It is commonly issued after a defendant fails to attend a scheduled court hearing.

Q: How do I know if I have an outstanding warrant or capias?

A: Respond to any Police District or ask an officer on the street to run a query on your social security number. You should provide some type of identification, if possible. To protect your privacy, police will NOT run a query if you simply call a district on the telephone.

Q: If there is an outstanding warrant or capias, will I be arrested on the spot?

A: Most capiases allow an officer to re-cite, meaning you will be given a new court date. However, if you have been re-cited numerous times and have continued to ignore the court date, the officer may choose to physically arrest you. Most warrants require an officer to physically arrest the person. Once you are re-cited or processed through the Hamilton County Justice Center, the warrant/capias is cancelled by the Hamilton County Central Warrants Department .

Calls Are Supposed To Be Public Records But These Massachusetts Agencies Are Keeping Them Secret

Frantic voices came through the phone on Dec. 14, 2012. Dispatchers started to field pleas for help from the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

A shooter was inside the Newtown, Connecticut, school, carrying out a rampage that would kill 20 children and six adults.

Those terror-filled 911 calls gave the public a glimpse into how law enforcement handled the chaos of that day.

But it took a years-long public battle by the Hartford Courant newspaper for the 911 recordings to be released.

Its not uncommon for the public or members of the media to have to fight to obtain 911 recordings. In many states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, the records are public.

Over several months, MassLive submitted public records requests to state agencies seeking a number of 911 recordings or transcripts. Most were denied, giving the appearance that Massachusetts agencies — including the state police, a county communication center and the State 911 Department — are reluctant to release recordings or transcripts of 911 calls.

And while some 911 recordings can be withheld for specific investigative reasons, there is no blanket exemption to stop authorities from releasing the public record. Doing so is a violation of the law.

In one case, MassLive was denied a 911 call that was not connected to an ongoing investigation. In another case, the State 911 Department said it considers 911 calls exempt from release.

Are 911 Calls Public Records

911 calls are public records. But state law determines the information Public Safety Answering Point may share with the public. Consequently, if you want to see the name, number, address, or personal information of the person who made a 911 call, you may need a court order.

Quick take: are 911 calls public records?

  • State privacy laws may prevent access to 911 call recordings.
  • You may use NASNA to determine where a 911 call originated.
  • Some states charge a fee to access public records.
  • PSAP centers receive and record 911 calls.
  • You may contact PSAP online or by calling 800-647-7579.
  • You will need a court order to access sealed public records.
  • Some states keep 911 call records indefinitely and some delete them after a set period.
  • You may access federal records via a Freedom of Information request.

Read Also: How Old Do You Have To Be For Police Academy

Body Worn Camera Video

This record is video footage captured by an officer’s body-worn camera. To request BWC video records, please fill out the form linked below and follow the instructions for submittal.

NOTE: If you cannot open the link and are using , go to Google Chrome Help. If you are using Microsoft’s Edge browser in Windows 10 and cannot open the form, go to Techdows for help.

What Is A Foia Request

The Recorder

The requirements may vary, but all FOIA request forms must contain:

  • Your name, mailing address, and contact information.
  • A description of the record.

FOIA act: what to remember

  • Under FOIA, federal agencies must share their records and information but with some exceptions.
  • If an agency refuses to share information, it may suffer penalties.
  • To access federal records, you must submit a FOIA request.

Don’t Miss: How Much Does It Cost To Be A Police Officer

More Info For Request 9

  • You should provide the following information to assist in locating records:
  • date of call
  • city/town where call was placed
  • telephone number from which call was placed, if known,
  • any additional information that could assist in locating the record
  • You should make your request as narrow in scope as possible in order for the State 911 Department to respond timely to your request.
  • You should keep in mind that the State 911 Department is not required to create a record that does not already exist. Also, public records are kept only for a certain number of years, consistent with the State Records Retention Schedule, and therefore we may no longer have a record that once existed.
  • All your requests will be responded to consistent with the guidance issued by Governor Baker on July 30, 2015.
  • What You Need For Request 9

    Here are a few tips you should consider when building your public records request:

    • When requesting public records, you should provide a reasonable description of the records sought and a preferred format, if any, for receiving public records that are available in electronic form.
    • Public agencies need to adhere to the law requiring them to secure personally identifiable information and prevent unwarranted invasions of privacy. Documents containing such information must be redacted carefully before releasing, expanding time needed for production. You should consider how you might revise your public records request to exclude records containing such information.
    • You should consider how you can narrow the scope of your request to expedite the production process. The first four hours of work performed to respond to a public records request will be performed at no cost. After that, the agency may charge up to $25 per hour.

    Recommended Reading: How To Become A Fresno Police Officer

    Law Enforcement Records Management

    The following incident types have been excluded from the Law Enforcement RMS report due to the sensitivity of these incidents:

    Child Abuse, Background Check, Child Protective Services Referral, CSC/Rape/Sexual Assault, Domestic Assault, Domestic-Verbal Abuse, Elderly/Vulnerable Adult Abuse, Extra Patrol Request, FPI Referral, MN Adult Abuse Reporting Center Report, Mental Health Crisis/Eval/Assist, Mental Health Issue/Disturbance, Search Warrant, Varda Alarm.

    All incidents from Oak Park Heights Police Department are also excluded.

    If you have difficulty with the report website, contact the Washington County I.T. Service Desk at 651-430-6411 and state that you need assistance with the Law Enforcement Public Data website. A support ticket will be generated and you will be contacted by someone who can assist you.

    The information contained in these reports is owned and the responsibility of the originating agency. Any requests for further information must be submitted to the originating agency directly.

    Bayport 275-4404

    Iowa Code Section 221 Definitions Defines Public Records As Quote:

    Consultant Finds Thousands of Aurora Police Reports Backlogged, Not Entered Into System

    Public records- includes all records, documents, tape, or other information, stored or preserved in any medium, of or belonging to this state or any county, city, township, school corporation, political subdivision, nonprofit corporation other than a fair conducting a fair event as provided in chapter 174, whose facilities or indebtedness are supported in whole or in part with property tax revenue and which is licensed to conduct pari-mutuel wagering pursuant to chapter 99D, or tax-supported district in this state, or any branch, department, board, bureau, commission, council, or committee of any of the foregoing.

    In Iowa, anyone may obtain 911 recordings or transcripts if they submit a request.

    Also Check: Does Crisis Text Line Call The Police

    Police Traffic Accident Report

    These are reports completed by CSPD officers that detail the events of a traffic accident. Please note, if you filed your traffic accident report online or mailed your form to the State of Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, the CSPD will not have a copy of your report. You will need to contact the Colorado State Patrol.

    Preventing The Disclosure Of 911 Calls

    In most cases, individuals who call 911 for emergency assistance have no control over whether or to what extent their calls may be disclosed to the public or press. While California authorities typically redact, or bleep out, personal identifying information, such as names and addresses, before making the calls available, other jurisdictions may follow different rules. In those cases, the callers or their survivors do not generally have the power to ask for additional privacy edits.

    After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, New York City officials declined to release 911 calls made by individuals from the World Trade Center before the towers collapsed. The New York Times and family members of the victims who made those calls sued the city to compel disclosure. They won access from the New York State Court of Appeals, which also permitted the city to remove the voices of the callers, leaving only the 911 operator voices audible to the press, though unredacted tapes were given to the families.


    Also Check: How To Search For A Police Report

    Make A Cpra Request For 911 Calls And Transcripts

    You can make 911 records requests verbally or in writing to the specific agency that holds the records, such as local law enforcement departments. The best practice is to compose a written request that provides as much information identifying the call as possible. For example, if you know the exact date of the call, that information will help the agency locate the correct records.

    If you don’t know the exact date, provide an estimate or date range for the call, as well as the names and addresses of parties involved in the underlying incident and a general description of the incident. This information will enable the agency to more accurately and quickly locate the requested records Read More:How to Get 911 Transcripts

    Frequently Requested Records Ncdit Does Not Manage

    911 Communications

    NCDIT often receives requests for public records and other information that it cannot provide. Below is a list of frequently requested types and how to request them.

    Record Type Who to Contact
    911 Calls

    The 911 call center, also known as a public safety answering point, that handled the call manages 911 call records.

    NCID Account Creation & Password Reset NCDIT manages NCID accounts and passwords. Contact the NCDIT Service Desk for assistance with NCID creation or password resets. If you need assistance with any other accounts, contact the agency that manages the application you are trying to access.
    County Information
    Contact the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Child Support Services.
    Non-NCDIT Correspondence

    For correspondence between state employees that are not NCDIT employees, contact the agency where the individual is employed.

    Non-NCDIT Data/Records

    For data and/or records from an agency other than NCDIT, contact that agencys public information office.

    Background Checks Obtain copies of various background checks through your current employer, the State Bureau of Investigation or N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts.
    Tax Records Obtain copies of North Carolina tax records from the N.C. Department of Revenue.
    Retirement & Pay information Help with retirement information:

    Also Check: What Training Do You Need To Become A Police Officer

    Public Records Request Web Form

    The Indiana Department of Homeland Security Office of General Counsel manages and maintains public records and responds to public records requests made to the agency in accordance with the Indiana Access to Public Records Act . IDHS is committed to providing maximum transparency to the public with very few exceptions.

    Prior to submitting a request using the IDHS , please review the following information, which provides valuable insight into records that may be withheld from public disclosure and anticipated timelines for processing requests. Links may also be provided if records are available through a public-facing website or database without the need to submit a public records request.

    Requests are received and processed as quickly as possible by IDHS. Depending on the type of record requested, complexity of the request and staffing availability, the entire process from receipt of the request, receipt of the records, review of the records and distribution to the requestor may be 46 weeks or longer.

    How To Get The Job


    If you don’t have any relevant work experience, working in a customer service position for a while can help you qualify for a police dispatcher job.


    You may need to take and pass a civil service test.


    Look at job-search resources like,, and for available positions. You can also visit individual police departments and related agencies online or in-person to apply.

    Don’t Miss: Where Are Police Car Auctions

    Are 911 Transcripts Public Records In Alabama

    Under section 11-98-12 , written and electronic records that detail circumstances or events related to a 911 call are subject to public inspection, but you must pay a fee to gain access.

    In states including Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts, there are no statutes that specifically address 911 calls. Because of that, you may file public records request at your states 911 department or check state laws.

    How Long Are 911 Calls On File

    Phoenix Police Department releases 911 call, video of standoff in which police commander killed

    Although public, 911 calls are only on file for a time. A public location cant keep 911 calls on file forever. Eventually, they will disappear from the system. How long are 911 calls on file? Where do they go after they leave the system?

    Most 911 calls are on file for, at most, one year. Some are on file for ninety days. This time allows:

    • Public access: The 911 calls are on file to allow the public, including those involved in the accident or crime, to hear.
    • Police access: Police may need to hear the tape to handle the crime.
    • Evidence: There may be evidence hidden inside the tape. The dispatcher needs to handle the case well.

    Once these are out of the way, the 911 call isnt necessary. If you want to obtain the call before this time, ensure you give your local government agency a call. They will provide the 911 call and ensure you hear the recording before it is taken off the file forever. They dont last forever for the privacy of the caller.

    If you make a 911 call, you relay private information over the phone. This call is recorded and added to the public record. These calls dont last more than a year in the system and come in handy. The recording helps the police and other people understand what happened during the call.

    We hope this information was helpful! I know it seems scary that 911 calls are recorded, but its for an excellent reason. If a dispatcher doesnt help you, the recording could prove your case.

    Don’t Miss: How To Report Police Harassment

    Education Training & Certification

    To become a police dispatcher, you must fulfill certain educational and other requirements, as follows:

    • Education: A high school diploma is typically the only formal education required to become a dispatcher. You may need to pass a civil service exam.
    • Experience: Experience working with other people, especially in customer service-related industries, is very helpful. Strong communications skills are a must, as well as the ability to speak clearly and coherently.
    • Technology requirements: As technology is used more and more in law enforcement, dispatchers must be proficient on a computer and must learn some complicated programs. Police dispatchers and 911 operators use computer-aided dispatch programs to help keep track of calls and assign case numbers.

    How Can I Get A Recording Of My 911 Call

    Identify the specific state agency that holds the record, check the requirements, then submit an oral or written request.

    For example, in Massachusetts, you may submit a request by calling the Primary Records Officer via 828-2911 or send an online written request to .

    How to submit a 911 call record request

    The first step is to check your state law. State law will tell you what information you are entitled to and what you can and cannot do with it.

    For example, in Florida, you may use 911 call records in court if the operator calls back. What do I mean?

    That said.

    To submit a 911 call request, after finding the state agency that holds the records, you must:

    • Check your states fee requirement. Some states charge per hour, and some offer public records at no cost for a limited period.
    • Accurately describe the call.

    Remember, state agencies must adhere to state law. Meaning it is advisable to check state laws before submitting a request.

    Also Check: Can I Get A Police Report From Years Ago

    Other State Laws That Bar 911 Call Disclosure

    In some states, legislation has been proposed, or in some cases already enacted, to exempt 911 emergency call recordings and transcripts from disclosure to the public under Freedom of Information laws. Alabama and Ohio were two of the first states to adopt such laws. Some measures allow members of the press to listen to recordings but not to publish those recordings in digital format, while still others allow agencies to release call transcripts only.

    More articles

    Popular Articles